Bosc Pear Salad with Dried Currants and Toasted Hazelnuts

It’s hard to tell a cheesemonger to not put cheese on everything. Especially salads.

Vertical top-down image of a white bowl with a tossed fruit and greens salad, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

Imagine a crunchy kale salad with garlic breadcrumbs without sharp, salty grated pecorino sprinkled delicately on top. Or a peach caprese salad without thick slices of fresh, creamy, milky mozzarella. Or a grilled chicken salad without those tangy crumbles of feta.

Sad! Tragic! Hopeless!

I got my mother on the cheese train, too. She’s become even more obsessed than I am, to the point where she yelled at me for not having blue cheese crumbles in my refrigerator 24/7, so that she could put them on her meals whenever she visits.

Vertical image of a white bowl with arugula and sliced fresh fruit.

“And you, a cheesemonger?! To not have any blue cheese in the house?!”

But cheese doesn’t have to go on every salad. Even cheesemongers (and their mothers) can try to practice some self-discipline now and then.

Some.

In many recipes, the fresh ingredients speak for themselves, without the need for any additional dairy component to augment the flavors.

Vertical top-down image of sliced fruit on top of greens in a white bowl.

Not convinced, fellow dairy-lovers?

An autumnal salad with bosc pears, dried currants, toasted hazelnuts, and a lemony vinaigrette is all the proof you’ll need. Combined with peppery arugula, it’s a fresh recipe with enticing flavors and textures.

Vertical close-up image of sliced fruit on top of arugula with chopped nuts and dried currants.

Resolutely simple on purpose, the dish is as elegant as it is minimal. It has no dairy to surround itself with, and no heavy, mayo-laden dressing to hide behind.

That’s why having the best ingredients, and the perfect prep, is crucial. This is when it’s absolutely necessary to use sweet, perfectly ripe pears. (For your reading pleasure, we have all the tricks of the trade to ripen your pears until they are juicy and succulent!)

Vertical top-down image of two bowls with fresh fruit, nuts, dried currants and greens.

Even your mom won’t miss the cheese.

Print
Horizontal image of a white bowl with arugula and pears

Bosc Pear Salad with Dried Currants and Toasted Hazelnuts


  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

In need of a simple, yet flavorful, salad? Make a fresh arugula salad with pears, dried currants, hazelnuts, and a lemon vinaigrette.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whole raw hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups lightly packed arugula
  • 2 Bosc pears
  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • Coarse salt, to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions

To Toast the Hazelnuts:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Place whole nuts on an unlined baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven, and cool completely. Place hazelnuts on top of a clean kitchen towel. Fold the towel over the nuts, and vigorously rub to remove most of the skins.
  4. Roughly chop the nuts, using a cutting board and knife, or a food processor.

To Make the Salad:

  1. Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl to make the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more oil or lemon juice as desired.
  2. Immediately before serving, thinly slice the pears. Combine all ingredients with the dressing in a large salad bowl, and toss well.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve right away.

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No-Cook, Baking
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Keywords: pear, arugula, hazelnut, currant

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Toast the Hazelnuts

Horizontal image of whole hazelnuts on a baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place whole hazelnuts on an unlined baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes, until aromatic. They will turn slightly darker. Keep an eye on them, so they don’t burn!

Remove from the oven, and cool completely.

Horizontal image of partially skinned hazelnuts on a towel.

The skins tend to be slightly bitter. Remove them by placing the hazelnuts on top of a clean kitchen towel. Fold the towel over the nuts, and vigorously rub to remove most of the skins. It’s completely fine if you can’t remove some of the skin – it’s still edible!

Horizontal image of chopped hazelnuts in a white bowl surrounded by fresh fruit.

Roughly chop the hazelnuts, using a cutting board and knife or a food processor.

Step 2 – Make the Dressing

Horizontal image of a bowl with lemon vinaigrette surrounded by a whisk, nuts, pears, and lemons.

Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl to make the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Need a little lemon or oil? Add more as desired!

You can use your favorite dressing instead of this simple lemon and oil blend. Try a lemon tarragon dressing, or a creamy balsamic vinaigrette.

Step 3 – Slice the Fruit

Horizontal image of whole and sliced pears on a brown plate.

Immediately before serving, thinly slice the Bosc pears. The slices will turn brown if sliced too early before serving, so it’s best to wait until right before serving to slice and assemble.

Step 4 – Combine

Horizontal image of piles of sliced fruit, dried currants, chopped hazelnuts, and arugula in a white bowl.

Combine all ingredients with the dressing in a large salad bowl, and toss well.

Horizontal image of a pear and greens salad.

Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Ditch the Cheese. You Won’t Miss It.

Blasphemous words, I know. But you’ll agree with me as soon as you try this salad.

Toss together ripe pears, lightly toasted hazelnuts, and tart dried currants with arugula in a lemony vinaigrette – an effortless gathering of fresh ingredients prepared with minimal, yet essential, culinary techniques.

Horizontal image of a white bowl with arugula and pears

The pears need to be ripened to sweet perfection. The hazelnuts should be lightly toasted, without burning. The arugula should be fresh and vibrant. The vinaigrette with bright lemons should be whisked to a homogenous, almost creamy, state, with a precious pinch of freshly cracked salt and pepper.

Cheese? Um, what cheese? I don’t think you’ll miss it at all.

Where do you stand with your salads? Do you like the simplicity of this dish? What would you do differently? I’d love to get all of your ideas – please leave me a comment below.

For more simple and fresh salads that are perfect for the fall season, try the following:

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on November 23, 2013. Last updated: November 6, 2019 at 19:21 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is a hungry foodie living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she is not tearing through her city's best cheesesteaks, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

21 thoughts on “Bosc Pear Salad with Dried Currants and Toasted Hazelnuts”

  1. Love the sound of the salad and the clash between our expectations for a magazine life and our real life can be so so true, although on almost any day I prefer my totally non-magazine life to a shiny and polished and likely boring magazine life 😉 As for the hard bits in life, they are hard to embrace (and can be crushing) but they do help us appreciate the small things in life that are so easily overlooked, they help us get to know ourselves, they stretch us and make us grow and ultimately make us us. So while I could have certainly done away with a few of the hard bits in my life, ultimately, they play their part in who I am today (and hopefully the knowledge of having come out the other end will help me deal with any future hard bits life will no doubt throw my way at some point!) and for that I am glad I had to go through them.

  2. Thanks for this delicious looking salad as we go into this Thanksgiving week. Hope you and Tim have a wonderful celebration with family and friends!

  3. beautiful salad! This is exactly what I want to need and just not what I feel like cooking. But I need this one! Also, the blog design, it looks so sharp and gorgeous. Love it, you guys. Enjoy the holiday. xoxo

  4. I’ve already got a long list of things to make for Thanksgiving, but I’d really love for this salad to be at the table as well. It may be a great relief for the day after though!

    • I love day-after-Thanksgiving eats almost more than the day-of, if only because they tend to be lighter. : ) PS Jacqui! We made your brown butter oatmeal cookies the day before leaving town and loved them!

    • Alexis, We bought a bulk container of them at Whole Foods! If you have one of those near you, it’s a good bet. Crossing my fingers for you!

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